Everyone in our community is feeling the impact of the coronavirus and the safety measures being implemented to keep people safe. This is a challenging situation, but we also must remember that nothing is more important than the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors. The precautions we’re taking are being put in place protect people from exposure – particularly for our seniors and others with underlying health conditions.
I know this is a difficult time, but I encourage everyone to do what they can to be a part of the solution – not the problem. Stay at home as much as possible. Abide by the executive orders that have been put in place. Don’t panic and spread fear or frustration. Be respectful to your neighbors, and don’t take more than you need when you venture out to the store for supplies. Find a local charity or small business to support if you are able. We will all get through this quicker if everyone takes this seriously and bands together to stop this virus from spreading.
Resources for workers and small-business owners
I realize the safety measures our state has taken come at a temporary cost to our economy, and many workers and small-business owners are struggling.
An executive order has been issued to make it easier for people to qualify and apply for unemployment. Workers who are out of work due to the coronavirus can learn more and apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA.
Help is also available for small businesses. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is distributing $10 million in grants and $10 million in low-interest loans to businesses across the state. Additional information can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also administering Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Michigan businesses. More information is available at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Supporting our health professionals
Being married to a physician, I know how stressful it is for our health professionals working on the front lines. If you have a chance, take a moment to thank the people who are putting their own well-being at risk while they work tirelessly to take care of the sick and provide for our safety.
This is not a time for politics. People are relying on their state government to work collaboratively with both local and federal officials, so our first responders and health care workers can continue to protect themselves and do their jobs effectively. A great example of this collaboration is the work of Michigan’s manufacturers to alter their supply chain to make huge amounts of needed personal protective equipment and other supplies for health professionals.
Clarity for Michigan schools
I also want to assure everyone that legislators are working with the governor’s office and the Michigan Department of Education on finding a solution to address the cancelation of classes. Conversations are ongoing about how to best help schools and families deal with canceled days and the remainder of the school year and I am confident we will have a solution soon.
Seeking reliable information
This public health crisis is evolving daily, and it is important to seek information from reliable sources. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has public health experts available to answer questions about COVID-19 and direct residents to the right resources in their local communities and within state government. Residents can call 1-888-535-6136, email COVID19@michigan.gov or visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.
As always, please feel free to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns. My staff is working remotely during this time, and you can still reach us by calling (517) 373-1778 or emailing GrahamFiller@house.mi.gov.
Please remember, we will get through this by working together. We are Michiganders, we are strong, and we have the resiliency needed to overcome this challenge.